Mknatami Khach Monastery


The monastery is located in the middle of Tandzut and Moshatagh villages of Kashatagh region (Lachin region) of the Artsakh Republic, on the right-bank rocky hill of the Aghavnaget River (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1 The general view of the monastery, photo by V. Isakhanyan.

Historical overview

There is no historical evidence about the monastery. According to the assumption of monument expert Samvel Karapetyan, the name of the monastery may be associated with the treatment of the disease mknatam (a fungal disease of the skin: ringworm) (Karapetyan 2001, 138).

Architectural-compositional description

The church is built of polished stones and has architectural and compositional features typical of the 12th-13th centuries. It is a single-nave vaulted building and resembles more a chapel rather than a church (Fig. 2). The only architectural decoration is the frame of the western entrance and the crown of the window (Fig. 3). The walls of the church lack any inscriptions. The roof is covered with semi-circular covering slabs.

Fig. 2 The general plan of the monastery, S. Karapetyan, Armenian cultural monuments in the region of Karabakh, Yerevan, 2001, p. 135.

Fig. 3 The western entrance of the church, photo by G. Petrosyan.

Adjacent to the south of the chapel there is a square building made of rough stones, whose cornerstones and entrance lintel are built of hewn stones. Inwardly, the building has numerous niches (Fig. 4). Judging by its structure, it is not excluded that the building served as a scriptorium or book repository (Karapetyan 2001, 139). The entrance is from the east (Fig. 5).


Fig. 4 The inner niches of the “scriptorium”, photo by Z. Rkoyan.

Fig. 5 The eastern front of the monastery, photo by Z. Rkoyan.

The monastery is in a state of disrepair, the cornerstones of the northern and western walls have fallen (Fig. 6). The roof of the church is damaged. The roof of the annex has collapsed.

Fig. 6 The western facade of the church, photo by A. Urartatsi.

The condition before and after the war

During the Soviet years, the monastery was not intentionally subjected to destruction or artificial changes, nor was it damaged during the Artsakh wars.

After the transfer of Kashatagh region to Azeri control in December 2020, changes and destruction in the area of the monument have not been documented yet, the Azerbaijani side presents it as an Albanian sanctuary and dates it to the 10th-11th cc.



  1. Karapetyan S., Armenian cultural monuments in the region of Karabakh, Yerevan, 2001.
  2. Keçmiş döyüşçü Elsevər Hüseynov Laçın Dəmiroğlu pirindən Mirzə AzAD Studiyasına salamı var,
  3. Пленные памятники Лачинского района,


Mknatami Khach Monastery
Mknatami Vank Monastery
Mknatami Vank Monastery